Masters 25 comes out today online, and will be in local stores this weekend. If you want to fire up a draft, check out Zach Barash’s analysis of how to do that. But what if you want to play Masters 25 Sealed? Maybe there is a local M25 PPTQ in your neighborhood, or you want to fire up some M25 sealed leagues. What will M25 Sealed look like?

Wizards R&D based M25 around powerful cards and combos. There aren’t hard archetypes or specific mechanics that drive the deck-building or gameplay. Zach’s article grapples with what that means for the draft format. But perhaps that is the wrong focus—what if M25 is designed for Sealed? Slow good stuff decks are the bread and butter of sealed tournaments. Most Sealed formats underwhelm compared to their draft counterparts because R&D designs Limited environments around compelling draft archetypes, which don’t show up that often in sealed pools. So I’m cautiously optimistic about M25 Sealed.

The format looks slow and powerful, with plenty of strong commons and uncommons to fill out around the crazy rares you open. You can’t really jam your deck full of Timberpack Wolf or Relentless Rats when you only open six packs, but if you have two or three and good reasons to play those colors, you’ll probably play them. But there’s another slew of random 2/2s that soread out among many more slots in the sealed packs you open. Masters 25 has 17 cards with the Morph mechanic: seven commons, seven uncommons, two rares, and one mythic. Black and white each have one, plus the colorless Zoetic Cavern, so there’s quite a concentration in the Temur colors.

Blue-green looks like the color pair that can pack the widest variety of Morphs, but the mechanic in general encourages splashing and slower games. Recall Khans of Tarkir—one of the most beloved recent draft formats, and one I enjoyed quite a bit in Sealed as well—and you can guess that Masters 25 will be a slow Sealed format. Looking at the two drop creatures in the set, many of them are morphs themselves—which you’d rather play face down—while a huge chunk are value creatures ranging from Merfolk Looter to Mesmeric Fiend to Squadron Hawk. Yes, there is Watchwolf, along with Timberpack Wolf, Mogg Flunkies, Erg Raiders, and Kavu Predator. But overall, this is not a format full of efficient beaters. That gives you time to play your best cards in Sealed.

The format offers more than a few sweepers as well. Pyroclasm is the big one at uncommon, but you can also mow down small creatures by slapping Heavy Arbalest on your Horseshoe Crab. Retraction Helix can do a Cyclonic Rift impersonation on the crab as well. In the rare slot, you get Akroma’s Vengeance and Pernicious Deed along with Living Death—which can be good or bad depending on which player is running more cycling creatures and morphs—and Plague Wind—which is nice if you can cast it.

Speaking of cycling creatures, Masters 25 has a new iteration of one of my favorite Limited mechanics: landcycling. While we didn’t get my all time favorites like Traumatic Visions and Fiery Fall, the set of specific basic-cycling creatures are just as good. Noble Templar, Shoreline Ranger, Twisted Abomination, Chartooth Cougar, and Elvish Aberration can only get their color’s basic land, but they all cycle for two generic mana, meaning that you can use them to fix your splash mana. Throw in Zombify at uncommon, and this cycle looks very attractive. Oh, and they threw in Ash Barrens too. That’s a real landcycler!

Beyond these points, I want to highlight a few cards I think you’ll want to play:

Prophetic Prism is the best Limited card. Put it in your Sealed deck. Be happy.

Sealed formats tend not to reward you for playing pump spells. Stampede Driver lets you turn any random card into quite a nice pump to your team. Even if that’s only two creatures, the trample is real. Morph formats tend to lead to board stalls, and this uncommon can really break through.

Better than Air Elemental. You can’t go wrong with Murder of Crows. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to cast this spell.

Welcome back, Nantuko Husk. Another of my favorite cards, this common feeds off a lot of sacrifice shenanigans. Perilous Myr, Promise of Bunrei, Fiend Hunter, Mesmeric Fiend, Enthralling Victor, Act of Treason, and friends all like a free sacrifice outlet. There are a few token creators as well. Watch out for this black common.

Ghost Ship and Will-o’-the-Wisp are really hard to attack through. The stupid 0/1 flier isn’t much use in general, unless you slap some pants on it. But Ghost Ship is a house! You need to be heavy in blue mana, which might be tricky in Sealed where you can’t draft all blue cards, but Masters 25 offers plenty more reasons to want to hold up extra blue mana at all times.

Personally, I look forward to crushing dreams with Ghost Ship control this weekend at my local PPTQs. Is that the best strategy? I hope to find out!

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.